Tiger Woods: Rehabilitating A Human Brand

Derrick DayeFebruary 18, 20102 min

It’s been announced that Tiger Woods will be sitting down in Florida tomorrow with “friends, colleagues and close associates,” not, as some might think to make additional apologies for his off-the-course activities, but to launch a new, 2010 version of Tiger Woods.

Think of it as this year’s Human Brand re-launch, a re-introduction into the marketplace of an actual human being who represents 100% of the values, imbued meaning, and differentiation in the category in which they compete. The operative phrase being in the category in which they compete. And make no mistake about it, no matter what you’ve read or heard about hotel bedrooms, the category in which Tiger’s human brandness resounds is still golf.

But Human Brands – Tiger Woods IS still a Human Brand no matter what you think of his record for fidelity whether coasting along or under assault, do better in the milieu that represents their values and skills best. Closure and contrition is come to against a background that resonates with the Human Brand’s skill set. Kitchens for Martha Stewart, construction sites (highest floor possible, please) for Mr. Trump. Places they can be themselves or, more accurately, be the brand they are. For Woods, the setting is a golf course.

The golf course was the one place (aside from sponsorship and promotional and advertising venues that showed Tiger playing golf) that Tiger captivated the world, until the world was captivated by the stories of how he cheated on his wife. Think of it as his outdoor rehab facility, very effective for refurbishing images and mending marketing fences.

Because for most of the people out there who watch or play at golf (including the ones who slap palms every time a new lover of Woods shows up in a supermarket tabloid and those who find his extramural pursuits repugnant), there are enough people who only want him to come back, play golf, and start winning tournaments again.

In a recent study we conducted in the UK updating our Commodity-to-Human-Brand Continuum we included Tiger in the mix to see where he’d end up. For fans and foes alike, we can report that consumers still see him as a Human Brand, which provides a good deal of flexibility when it comes to sponsorships, promotional opportunities and marketing.

For anyone who’s played the game before they know that there are lots of Rules in Golf. In professional golf there are very few when it comes to rehabilitating a Human Brand: Be contrite, find closure, and work on that 375-yard drive.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Robert Passikoff, President, Brand Keys
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